Skill Acquisition

Well this blog is a little later than I had hoped but work is very busy at the moment, more about that in another blog.

Over the xmas and new year period I had to do quite a lot of marking. One of the modules I was marking was skill acquisition and students had to make a DVD of them coaching a session and explain using a commentary what they were doing and why.

Most students logically developed their chosen techniques, normally from a closed environment to a more open environment, many approached feedback using specific learning styles for specific athletes and most created a structured and progressive learning environment.

Some that struck me though was how some sports seem to have some standard practices relating to skill acquisition and this made me question what judo’s practices are. Here are some the students did:

One student was teaching sprint starts, she is a level 2 athletics coach. When she started her session she asked the athletes to keep their feet on a line and lean as far forward as possible. The foot they put forward first was their preferred or dominant foot. This made me think, I wouldn’t know the dominant foot of my athletes, they do the judo techniques the way they’re taught and based upon whether they are left or right handed. Is this correct?

Another student taught golf. When his athlete moved off balance during the swing he placed his hand on his head. When judo players turn in for a technique and go off balance we tend to adjust their shoulders or their weight distribution in some way, interestingly when we teach kuzushi will tell tori to control the head…..

The same student had a system for teaching the athlete to correct himself (encouraging intrinsic feedback is good) and I wondered how judo coaches do this. For some coaches say that when creating kuzushi and you hikite hand pulls you should ‘look at your watch’ this is a way of getting players to self check.

A final one was a swimming coach teach front crawl or freestyle. I didn’t know that when you do this stroke one of the key points is to lift as high as possible with your elbow when your arm comes out of the water. A small technical point a none swimmer or beginner might find hard and I think we have many of these in judo – point your toes in O Soto, straight sweeping leg in ashi waza etc. What she told her athlete to do was have his thumb touch his armpit as he lifted his arm out of the water.

So my question is this – what do we do in judo? I remember being taught O Uchi Gari and being told to imagine a piece of chalk between my toes drawing a circle so that I kept my toes close to the floor and I still find myself saying this when I coach O Uchi Gari. What do other people say?

The second question is why don’t we have a list? Surely a list that is distributed on coaching course would help young coaches?

Please add some comments, ideas below.


1 Comment

Filed under Anglia Ruskin Sports Coaching & Physical Education degree, Coaching Judo, EJU level 4 & 5 coaching awards, Judo

One response to “Skill Acquisition

  1. Sharon

    From an ex judoka, judo coach, blackbelt female who had numerous comebacks from injury but who so developed resilience and motivation from her various experiences of judo when young in the ate 70s and early 80s. Here goes
    Here are my comments
    A list is good- first watch the judoka- watch their strengths and weaknesses- reflect on these- enable the judoka to have an open mind and to listen to the,selves and the coach.
    Then emable the judoka to develop their strengths and manage their health and wllbeing to minimise injury risk but maximise opportunities to win. And build their confidence on the mat.
    A VAK approach enables you to work with the judoka to enable them to understand what the can see , hear or do then enable the judoka to wor k with weoght distribution. Kata practice helps —many many hours. Swap 1 session per week over 4 months or at a practice. So many hours practice enabes things to be done instinctively / autonomically. As a coach- You need to know if a judoka is a fighter or a player as well as understanding their drivers to enable them to exceed their goals. My first coach was Sailor Farendon in Midland area. He talked a lot of sense to me. He must have because it took me just over 3.5 years to get my blackbelt, and become reserve for national squad, took me about 2.5 yrs to be midland area champion and throw a brown belt who was 2 kyu grades higher than me and twice my weight in 1 event. ZSo I guess he knew what he was on about.
    Finally if a judoa knew about reflexology and how to use it to benefit themselves, their recovery rate would improve and o would other aspects of their judomy memories remain- and I don’t regret a moment – even my injuries. Injuriies just provided me ith a different approach to training
    And management of frustration!

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